Guest Post & Giveaway: Sarah Bella

You Just Died in a Book Tonight, or Where I get my Character Inspiration
by Sarah Bella

So, umm, where do your characters come from?

Isn’t that the question that every author gets asked?

And the answer is simple. I dunno.

I know, we’re eloquent.

The truth is that my characters just ‘come to me’.

There are characters who come to you fully formed, like Nova Harper Whitley, from Darkling. You know their full name and their place and date of birth. You know their family situation and what kind of car they drive. You can hear their voice in your head, telling you, “Write me! Write me!” But you don’t know what they look like or where they work or even where their story starts.

My favorites are the ones like Jax, also from Darkling, who just sort of lurk quietly and you know exactly what they look like and you know how they move and how they dress, but they don’t say anything at first. They just wait until you’re good and ready to hear their story. They haunt you for days, weeks, months. Every picture you see looks sort of like them, but not quite. And when they finally spill, they mean business.

There are jokes about writers having split personalities and imaginary friends. Those jokes are completely true. Some days, I feel like there are people living inside my head. They tell me when it’s time to write, when I can stop to eat, even when I can make a bathroom run.

One of the things that I have learned definitively is the characters come to you as who they are, and there is no sense trying to change that because it won’t work. They might leave blanks for you to fill in, but if your characters have told you something about themselves, it’s best to trust them.

The majority of my characters don’t come to me fully formed. I get an image, or a line, and go with it. For these characters, my favorite way to fill them in is people watching. I’ll go to the mall, grab a tea and just observe. I make notes of things that interest me, whatever the reason – I love the voice recorder function on my phone.

Sometimes I make up stories to go with the people I see, sometimes I just make note of an ugly sweater, but I take this compilation of people, and clothes and sweaters and see what seems to fit the character I’m working on. Sometimes I’ll see a woman wearing a dog sweater and my character will tell me he has two black labs.

In addition to my lists of clothes and traits, I also keep a list of names for those characters who aren’t named when they find me. I try to keep in mind their date of birth when I choose their name, but I have a list of roughly twenty names on a word doc that is always my first place to check. It’s a lot like naming a child – sometimes they just don’t look like a Sarah or a Nick or whatever name you thought you wanted.

In short, listen to the voices in your head. They’re probably just fictional characters, dying to get written.

Delilah Steele was living the high life. She had a high-powered job, a man she loved and nothing was holding her back. When her world, and her trust, was irrevocably shattered by the man she loved, Delilah had no choice but to return to the town she grew up in – and couldn’t wait to leave. There, she goes to work for Aiden Dean, a handsome heartbreaker who seems to have his eye on Delilah. When Delilah’s long-absent father arrives on the scene, she has to figure out how to cope with his presence and desire to be a part of her life. Now Delilah has to learn how to live – and love – all over again. Will her hard knocks past continue to haunt her, or will Aiden break through her tough exterior and show her that forever can be a good thing?

Sarah is giving away one copy of her book, Delilah’s Passion. To enter to win, just leave a comment below.

This giveaway is closed. The winner is Erin.

Review: Delilah’s Passion

Reviewed by Shelly

Fresh from the big city and a break up with her fiancé Nick, Delilah Steele returns home. After being gone for ten years, returning to Small Town, USA, Delilah and her household (Mucho the dog and Mojo the cat) will take some time adjusting, but thank goodness for the kindness of strangers. Aiden Dean, local nice guy and new owner of the local ice cream parlor, offers Delilah both a job and place to stay.

I had some trouble getting into this story. The plot sounded very promising but there were so many things that I had trouble with, that they overwhelmed the good parts of the story.

What I didn’t like about the story was mainly Delilah. I found her to be a twenty-eight year-old emotionally immature and juvenile character and completely undeserving of Aiden’s attention. She was with her ex-fiancé for the better part of the time she’s been away and leaves him because he submitted her novel (that she’s been working on for the entirety of their relationship) to a publisher and it gets accepted. She leaves as soon as she finds out, because she didn’t want to work it out. I’m okay with that. Here’s what I have trouble with – you’re a copyeditor and you don’t know what you have to do to protect your work from anyone stealing it?

There’s also budding relationship with her father that I thought merited a lot more attention that it received.

My biggest problem and what I just couldn’t wrap my head around – how does twenty-five year-old Aiden, a Harvard graduate, end up as a working owner of a small town ice cream parlor? The reason just didn’t add up and make sense to me.

Again, I can’t say how much I didn’t like Delilah. The pacing of the interaction with her and Aiden were all set by her and the developed relationship was so quick that I couldn’t understand how she could go from being engaged one week to being in love with someone else within a few weeks.

If the resolutions between Delilah and Nick and Delilah and Aiden weren’t so convenient I would have enjoyed this story a lot more than I did, but it was too far-fetched. To be honest here, I just couldn’t even see how Nick would do either things that he did. I didn’t see the lead up to it.

There were some mild sex scenes but I can’t tell you that they either complemented the relationship or advanced the story line.

The pleasant parts of this story were Delilah’s best friend Caitlyn: everyone needs friends like her; and her father, Jim: what a nice guy! I would have really liked to explore his relationship with Delilah but we weren’t given a chance.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: C

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Delilah’s Passion
by Sarah Bella
Release Date: October 20, 2011
Publisher: Renaissance E-Books, Inc.